Kültepe (Kaniş-Karum) Ruins
Kültepe, where documents were discovered that date the history of Kayseri back 6,000 years, 21 km from the Kayseri city centre. The Kültepe Ruins (Kültepe Ören Yeri) consist of a mound and the surrounding Karum, the ruins of the first city founded by the Hittites in Anatolia, as well as the ruins of administrative and religious buildings, houses, shops, and workshops. The centre of the karums, large trade colonies established by the Assyrians, was the Karum in Kültepe, and it oversaw the other karums. Kültepe stands out as the home of the first written tablets in Anatolia and it was the world’s first organized trade centre. Written in Assyrian cuneiform, these tablets contain letters, bills, seals, and treaties that reveal the political and legal relations of the period. These tablets were added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2015.
In Kayseri, a city that has hosted many civilizations in its 6000-year history, the Kayseri Museum sheds light on the city’s early ages with its rich collection of hundreds of artifacts, especially those found in the Kaniş Karum, one of the Assyrian colonies. The museum building, which was moved into the Kayseri Citadel, also allows its visitors to travel back in centuries with its modern and technological infrastructure.
The Clock Tower was built by Salih Usta, from Tavlusunlu, in 1907 by order of Abdülhamit II with the support of Kayseri Governor Haydar Bey. There is a rectangular opening in the pointed pyramidal cone that closes the tower and a clock bell inside it. When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk came to Kayseri, he addressed the people of Kayseri from the Clock Tower.
Ethnographic Museum (Güpgüpoğlu Mansion)
Güpgüpoğlu Mansion (Güpgüpoğlu Konağı), the oldest and best preserved of Kayseri houses, was first built between 1419-1497 and expanded with additions and changes that continued until the 18th century. The mansion consists of harem and selamlık sections facing north, each with its own courtyard. The two-storey mansion attracts attention with stone decorations on the outside and hand-carved wooden ornamentation inside. The eastern part of the mansion, where the harem and selamlık are located, was transformed into a museum in 1998, when the Ethnography Museum was moved.
Kayseri Castle (Kayseri Kalesi) consists of two separate building groups, namely the inner and outer castle. The outer walls of the fortress were built in CE 242 by the Roman emperor, Gordianus III, while the Inner Fortress was built by Byzantine emperor Justiniaus at the beginning of the 6th century. It took on its present appearance mostly during the period of the Anatolian Seljuks, who reinforced the castle against Mongol attacks. In 2008, it was decided to make the castle a culture and arts centre.
Atatürk House Museum
Set in the centre of Kayseri, the museum was built as a house at the end of the 19th century. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk stayed in this house on December 19-21, 1919. It is one of the best examples of a classic Kayseri house, a few of which survive today. The overhanging eaves of the second-floor bay window are decorated with striking wood motifs.
Ulu Mosque (Cami Kebir)
Ulu Mosque (Ulu Cami) is in the Kayseri city centre near the covered bazaar. It is also known as Cami Kebir and is open for worship. The mosque, which is thought to have been built between 1134-1143, is one of the oldest Turkish-Islamic structures in Kayseri. With its plan, it is one of the first examples of the grand mosque tradition of the Great Seljuks in Anatolia.
Gevher Nesibe Hospital and Madrasah (Educational Institution) (Seljuk Civilization Museum)
It was built during the Anatolian Seljuk era in 1205. The structure consists of sections featuring a medical madrasa, a mausoleum, a hospital and a bimarhane (a form of hospital including a mental hospital). The hospital and madrasa are organized as two separate buildings. In the building, which was the first applied medicine madrasa (educational institution) of Anatolia, it is known that mental illnesses were treated with the sounds of water and music. Today, it is used as the Seljuk Civilization Museum, where the Seljuk Civilization is examined in every aspect and the treatments in the bimarhane section are presented with animations.
Seyyid Burhaneddin Mausoleum and Cemetery
Hazrat Mevlana’s teacher, Seyyid Burhaneddin, one of the spiritual architects of Kayseri and Anatolia, was born in Tirmidhi in 1166 or 1169 and died in Kayseri in 1244. After his death, no mausoleum was erected upon his grave, per his will. It is recorded that in 1894, Abidin Pasha came to Kayseri for an inspection. He spoke with the sultan and offered to build a mausoleum on the grave; thus, it was decided to build the current mausoleum with the command of Sultan Abdulhamid II.
Kurşunlu (Ahmet Pasha) Mosque
Built in 1573 by Mimar Sinan – whose hometown was Kayseri – the original name of the mosque was Hacı Ahmet Paşa Mosque (Hacı Ahmet Paşa Cami), but the building was called the Kurşunlu Mosque, due to its central dome being covered with lead (kurşun means lead). It is the only work of Mimar Sinan in Kayseri that has survived to the present day. The domed fountain, carried by pointed arches supported by eight columns in the courtyard, draws attention.
Grand Bazaar, Bedesten (covered bazaar) and Inns
It is estimated that the building was erected in the 15th century. It was considered to be the second largest covered bazaar, after the İstanbul Grand Bazaar, among covered bazaars built in the Ottoman period. The original structure, almost completely destroyed by a fire, was rebuilt with stone. Still considered the centre of Kayseri’s commercial texture, the Covered Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) features a variety of shops, including those that sell local food and handicrafts.
Still inhabited today, Talas is an old and important settlement with archaeological and historical urban assets. There are numerous historical buildings and natural areas throughout the district. Some of these are Ali Mountain Underground City, Yaman Dede Mosque, Yaman Dede Culture and Arts House and Ali Saip Paşa Street.
Surp Kirkor Lusovoriç Church
The church was named for Surp Lusavoriç (Holy Lusavorich), known to Armenians as “the first person who came to God's light”. It is one of the most important Armenian churches in Anatolia. Inside the arch framing the door is an Armenian inscription indicating that the church was repaired in 1885. The church’s interiors are decorated with frescoes featuring geometric and floral motifs and adorned with pendants and Biblical descriptions.
Yaman Dede Mosque (Panaya Church)
Built in 1886 by the Metropolitan Bishop Ionnis as the Panaya Church (Panaya Kilisesi), the church was converted in 1925 into the Yaman Dede Mosque (Yaman Dede Cami). Originally the church was built according to a cross-shaped plan. With its conversion into a mosque, a pulpit and a mihrab (niche of a mosque indicating the direction of Mecca) were added. Under the terrace of the mosque is an area with stone arches; the shops in the area serve for cultural purposes.
About 6 km from the city centre, settlement in Germir covers a wide swath of time, including the Hittite, Cappadocia, Roman-Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The language spoken in Germir, where Turks, Armenians and Greeks lived together for many years, has always been Turkish. The town of Germir features two Greek churches, one Armenian church, two mosques, one Turkish bath, one sarraf (goldsmith), 15 bezirhanes (wild flax-seed oil extracting facilities), 20 stores, 65 shops and one slaughterhouse.
Döner Kümbet (Cupola) (Şah Cihan Hatun Mausoleum)
The precise date of the construction of the cupola, which was built in the name of Shah Cihan Hatun, is not known, but its architectural and decorative features suggest that it was erected in the last quarter of the 13th century. Its stone decorations reflect the splendour of Turkish art. The repeating motifs on the cupola caused it to be called the “Döner Kümbet/Rotating Cupola”, because it gives the impression that it is rotating as one walks around the building.
Ahi Evran Lodge (Museum)
The lodge (Ahi Evran Zaviyesi) was built in the second quarter of the 13th century. It is attributed to Ahi Evran, the founder of the Ahi organization, which greatly influenced Kayseri and Central Anatolia in the 13th century. The structure has a special importance in terms of being one of the earliest examples in Anatolia; it is used today as the Museum of Tradesmen and Craftsmen – and it was Türkiye's first tradesmen museum. In the museum, leather finishing stones and other items that belonged to Ahi Evran are exhibited.
Located in Cumhuriyet Square, the Sahabiye Madrasa (Sahabiye medresesi/educational institution) was built in 1267 by the renowned Seljuk Vizier Sahip Ata. Constructed entirely of cut stone according to the Anatolian Seljuk architectural tradition, the building attracts attention with the stone workmanship on its crown gate. The crown gate is decorated with three wide bands embroidered with geometric shapes on both sides and a row of spikes from top to bottom, and one adjacent pillar with zigzags on the outer edges.
Mimar Sinan House
The Mimar Sinan House (Mimar Sinan Evi), the birthplace of Mimar Sinan, one of the most famous architects in the history of Turkish Architecture, is in the Ağırnas District, 27 km from the city centre. Dating back at least 3,000 years, the settlement of Ağırnas has survived to the present day and features galleries, caves, and the remains of underground cities. In addition to hand weaving, people in Ağırnas are masters at construction work such as stone processing, masonry, painting and plastering. Besides the house where Mimar Sinan was born, the town has different examples of civil architecture, fountains, underground cities, and churches. It is estimated that 80% of the settlement of Ağırnas Town, which has deep waters and lush nature, is underground city.
Ağırnas Underground City
Some sections of the underground city were created prior to the Common Era and additions were made in subsequent years. Its niches and paintings suggest that it was used mainly between the 1st and 13th centuries. With its galleries, caves, and underground city ruins, Ağırnas is a settlement centre that seems to have been populated for at least 3,000 years. While there are no historical documents related to the history of Ağırnas from the Seljuk Period, there are records from the Ottoman Period.
Endürlük Church (Agia Triada Church)
Located in the district of Endürlük, in Talas, this Turkish Orthodox church is somewhat recent, with its inscription dated between 1831 and 1835. The three saints for whom the church is named are Andronikos, Provos and Tarahos. The church is surrounded by high walls.
Built between 1202 and 1203, the bridge was intended to provide transportation between Kırşehir and Kayseri. Located on the Kızılırmak river, the 120-meter-long bridge is made of cut stone. It is 27 meters in diameter and 18 meters in height. The great arch of the bridge led local people to call it “Tekgöz/One Eye” and “Yalnızgöz/Lonely Eye”.
Ulu Mosque - Bünyan
The Ulu Mosque (Ulu Cami) is actively used and open to worship. It was built in 1333 by Kaluyan, a famous architect of the period. It covers a rectangular area in the south-north direction, has a basilica plan, and an earthen roof with wooden beams. The structure has a massive appearance from the outside. It is worth seeing due to its remarkable architecture.
Karatay Caravanserai - Bünyan
Built between 1240 and 1241, the caravanserai – which looks somewhat like a smallish castle – features high outer walls. The caravanserai was an important stopover on the Silk Road and was built to accommodate the caravans of that time. It consists of two sections: a summer section and a winter section. There are service spaces and a portico section in the summer area, the winter section, on the other hand, is a completely closed area. The caravanserai also has a Turkish bath (hammam) and a mosque. In addition, there is important ornamentation in its architecture that attracts the attention of art historians.
Sultanhanı Caravanserai - Bünyan
The Sultanhanı Caravanserai (Sultanhanı Kervansarayı) is in the Bünyan district, 47 km from Kayseri. Thought to have been built between 1232 and 1236, the structure is among the most beautiful examples of the Seljuk architectural style. The building consists of two sections, a summer and a winter section, where the needs of the caravans were met during their accommodation. Of these, the northern segment constitutes the summer section, and the southern segment constitutes the winter area.
Fraktin Rock Relief
These reliefs are carved into rock near the village of Ferhattin in the Develi district, by the Karasu River. Here, in two well-preserved pieces, the libation of the king and queen in the presence of god and goddess is depicted. In one of the reliefs, the queen’s name and the name of her country are written in large hieroglyphs. In the carving, Queen Puduhepa stands higher than the king, while goddess figure is seated, with her legs stretched out. The hieroglyphic inscription on the queen appears to be twice the size of that on the king. It is believed that the size differences are because the inscriptions were made at different times by two different groups of sculptors.
This structure, located in the Felahiye district, dates from the Roman era and is still used today.
Set in the Kazıklı region of the Felahiye district, the monument was erected during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The building is rectangular-shaped in the north-south direction. The entrance is through a door in the middle of the south facade. The east, west and north walls of the building have the shape of round arched windows.
Zamantı Castle (Melikgazi Castle)
Zamantı Castle (Zamantı Kalesi) is in Melikgazi village in the Pınarbaşı district of Kayseri. It was built during the Byzantine period to keep the roads of Zamantı and Elbistan under control. Evidence suggests that it was used and repaired in the time of the Danishmends, the Seljuks and the Ottomans, respectively, after the Byzantines lost dominance in the region. The structure of Zamantı Castle is integrated with the calcareous rocks at its site. It is believed that additions made to the building occurred over time and under the influence of different cultures.
The bridge is in Karaözü town, Sarıoğlan district in the Kayseri province. It is still in active use. Although the exact year of construction is not known, it is believed to have been built in 1480. The bridge is 155 meters long and is designed with eight arches.
Located in the Tomarza district of Kayseri, the Monument is a relief carved into a boulder in İmamkulu. It dates from the Hittite period, BCE 13th century, and is among several similar monuments on the road to Kizzuwatna, an ancient Anatolian kingdom. The rock relief features the Storm god, three Mountain gods and a king. The Storm god is shown stepping on the backs of the three Mountain gods, who have their heads tilted forward, and pressing his left foot on two bull chariots (Hum and Seni). On the left is the king, standing with a spear in his left hand and a bow in his right, wearing a knee-length tunic and shoes with curved ends,
Tomarza Church (Surp Boğos Bedros Church)
Tomarza Church (Tomarza Kilisesi) is in the Tomarza district centre. It was built in 1835. While stones have fallen from its walls, the building still stands. The church, built in the east-west direction, does not have a narthex (entrance/lobby area). Frescoes reflecting the period are visible, as are Armenian inscriptions on the apse arch.
Set 65 km from Kayseri, the Erdemli (Erdemesin) Valley (Erdemli Vadisi) was an important settlement during the Byzantine period. The district of Yeşilhisar, to which the valley is connected, was called “Kyzistra” during the Byzantine period. Erdemli Valley is approximately one kilometre long and contains a palace structure and eight rock churches (Church Mosque, H. Eustathios Church, Double Apsed Burial Chapel, H. Nikolaos Church, H. Michael Church, Twelve Apostles Church, Forty Martir Church, Single-Nave Church).
The Soğanlı Ruins (Soğanlı Örenyeri) are in a valley where rock churches and caves are interspersed with currently inhabited houses. Soğanlı has been used as a residential area since the Roman Period. The Romans used the rocky outcrops on the valley slopes as a cemetery; the Byzantines used them as a church. Soğanlı has been a centre of Christianity in Cappadocia since the 4th century, and its importance continued in the 7th and 8th centuries. In addition to picturesque fairy chimneys and hundreds of pigeon houses, caves and shelters in Soğanlı, there are nearly 50 churches, monasteries and caves carved into the tuff rock. In these are depictions of Jesus and the apostles. The Karabaş Church, Kubbeli Church, Tahtalı (Saint Barbara) Church, Yılanlı Church, Saklı Church, Tokalı Church, Ballık Church and Geyikli Church are some of the important churches located in Soğanlı.
Güzelöz and Başköy Neighbourhoods–Saint George Church
The Güzelöz and Başköy neighbourhoods, located on the edge of the valley, are important places for historical churches and rock carvings. The Başköy neighbourhood is one of the most important historical areas in the region, featuring unique natural scenery and the historical Church of St. George (Aziz George Kilisesi).
Kayseri City Library (Virgin Mary Church)
It is known that the church structure, which is believed to have been built in the 19th century due to its architectural details, was previously decorated with frescoes; these are now painted in solid colours. Still in good condition, the church today serves as the City Library (Şehir Kütüphanesi). It is Türkiye's first and only library converted from a church.
Kale Mosque (Fatih Mosque)
Kale Mosque (Kale Cami) is set in the northwest corner of the Kayseri Citadel. Its patron was Fatih Sultan Mehmet; it is known as the Fatih Mosque (Fatih Cami) and also as the Kale Mosque. Since the mosque does not have an inscription, its construction date is unknown. Fatih Mosque is a square-planned, domed mosque made of cut stone, built against the northwest corner of the Kayseri inner castle, with its back against the castle wall. The mosque’s single dome plan placed on four walls is an example of early Ottoman architecture.